Feb. 9, 2014
CHARLOTTE, NC - Clutch three-pointers and a high success rate from the free throw line propelled the Fayetteville State men's basketball team to a 71-66 win over Johnson C. Smith at Brayboy Gymnasium on Saturday.
The win earns the Broncos a sweep in the regular season series. It's the first win at Brayboy for each player on the FSU roster.
Tyrrel Tate scored a team-high 16 points for the Broncos, who improve to 17-6 overall, 9-3 in the CIAA and 5-1 in Southern Division play. Torian Showers (13 points, 10 rebounds) recorded a double-double while Joshua Dawson (11 points) also finished in double-figures. Louis Craft finished with a game-high four blocks.
"Effort, energy and defense," FSU coach Alphonza Kee said. "It was a big game, a big chance to prove ourselves. It was a great environment, a great gym. You don't win here often, with one of the top atmospheres in the country and a legendary coach (JCSU's Stephen Joyner, Sr.) on the floor. It was a great chance to win in a different way. Not scoring the ball. Not playing pretty, but we continued to stay together and continued to work hard; and it worked out for us in the end."
It was perhaps the best defensive showing for the Broncos in CIAA play this season. FSU limited the Golden Bulls to just 39.3-percent shooting (24-of-61) and was able to overcome its own shooting woes (31.3 percent), thanks to successful free throw shooting and a big edge on the glass.
The Broncos hit 21 of their 26 free throw attempts (80.8 percent) and had a 50-39 advantage in rebounding.
It was a back and forth game the entire way with 12 ties and 17 lead changes; a product of trading baskets. This was especially true in the second half. Early in the stanza, there were plenty of lead changes.
Even as the game was tied for the final 6:36 of the ball game, there was never really any separation until Tate converted an old-fashioned 3-point play with 15 seconds left to stretch the lead to 69-63.
"It was drawn up to get me the ball," Tate said. "I just pulled around the side and made a good play to finish the basket through the contact."
That play was the first score after Dawson hit a pair of free throws with 1:58 left to make it 66-63. Though JCSU's Antwan Wilkerson hit a 3-pointer the next trip down the court, two more Tate free throws sealed the deal.
The Broncos finished the game with advantages in second-chance points (18-8) and points off turnovers (19-17). FSU also had a significant advantage from the 3-point line, burying eight of its 20 attempts (40 percent) from deep compared to JCSU's 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) mark.
After getting behind 18-11 early in the contest, FSU rallied to take a halftime lead thanks to lockdown defense in the half's final 8:51. The Golden Bulls only scored 10 points in that span, and the Broncos were able to climb back in it thanks to a 6-0 run on layups by Showers and Tate and a couple of Tate free throws.
FSU took a 27-26 lead with 1:09 left in the period and held a 29-28 lead at the half.